NoSleep: You Feel that Way For a Reason. Don’t Ignore Your Instincts by Reddit user mowski (x) 

You know that feeling where you’re lying in bed at night, and something pricks at all your senses? Like something’s gone wrong. Something’s not right, and it nags at you, but you ignore it because that’s the rational and adult thing to do. No one checks for monsters in their closets anymore. It’s probably just the plumbing, or the neighbours, or you’re tired and your imagination is overactive. When you wake up in the morning light, you’ll laugh at yourself. 

On Tuesday the 15th of July, I learned to never ignore that feeling again.

I had spent my evening curled up on the couch with my husband, Liam, watching him shoot ambiguous virtual baddies while trying to stave off the sleep tugging at my eyelids. At around 10pm, I mumbled a bleary goodnight and shuffled off to bed; not taking his eyes off the screen, Liam promised to join me in ten minutes. “Just gotta finish this match,” he said. “Won’t be long.”

I fell asleep near instantly. When Liam finally crawled behind me into bed much longer than ten minutes later, I felt a brief flash of annoyance at being woken up. The clock read 11.12pm. So much for ten minutes.

Although I was usually a deep sleeper, I had trouble drifting back off. The shadows on the walls danced and stretched and played tricks with my shitty vision, and I felt exposed when I closed my eyes. The usual feelings of safety and security associated with ‘home’ were more frayed than normal. Logically, though, I knew everything was fine; forever the little spoon, I wiggled backwards into Liam’s comforting body warmth and gradually fell back asleep.

1am. The dog was going nuts. She was pawing and whining at the bedroom door; she sometimes did this when she was lonely, but it unnerved me nonetheless. I remember thinking that I should really get up, that I should check her out - but I was warm, and sleepy, and right on that barrier between sleep and consciousness. I was nervous, but it was a distant nervousness, blunted by sleep. Unwilling to so much as open my eyes, I drowsily begged Liam to shut her up, to take her outside. “Make sure all the doors are shut too, hon.” Always the selfless husband, he got up. I was asleep before he’d even left the room.

3am. I woke up to Liam breathing heavily on the nape of my neck. He snored most nights; when I was lucky, it was just heavy, almost laboured breathing. I elbowed him in the ribs and whined. He stopped, but again, I was awake; again, another half hour of desperately trying to focus my eyes on the murky blackness of the bedroom walls. I was comforted by the rise and fall of Liam’s chest against my back though, and the rigidity of his arm - he was obviously awake too, and so I dismissed the quiet panic and fell back asleep.

5am. Liam’s work alarm went off, and I woke to the milky sunlight filtering in weakly through our curtains. Liam rolled out of bed and I squeezed my eyes tightly shut so that he wouldn’t pester me into getting up with him. He lingered in the bedroom for a while, and my faux sleep returned to deep sleep. I woke up again only briefly to the muffled creaking of the driveway gate opening and closing as he left for work.

6.30am. My own work alarm. I dragged myself out of bed, head hazy from a disturbed night of continual waking and sleeping. Eyes squinting in the blaring sunlight, I stumbled into the lounge room, fumbled for the remote to turn on the morning news, and tripped across my husband’s body lying on the floor.

Stabbed. Disembowelled. Head near detached from his neck.

Someone had been waiting. Someone had gotten in. That’s why the dog was freaking out, and that’s why the dog was later discovered decapitated in the yard. That’s why I kept waking up. I had ignored all my instincts. That’s why Liam was dead, murdered as he was getting ready for the day.

For the following week, I dwelled on all the signs, the warnings, and the senses that had been screaming at me that night. I had dreams of paying heed to the warnings; of not dismissing the shadows and the dog and the feeling of creeping, pervasive fear. I had dreams of pulling Liam back into bed that morning; begging him to stay and cuddle, as I so often did, and him relenting - another ten minutes - as he so often did. Buying time.

Yesterday, I got a call from the investigating detective. They’d received the coroner’s report. They had an approximation for Liam’s time of death.

11.00pm on Tuesday the 15th of July.
Never ignore that feeling.

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